I am obsessed with asian BBQ. Potentially my all time favorite food is char siu bao. I love those little bao buns. The flavor of the buns reminds me of great times with my family (especially my dad) and fills my body with happy memories fueled from the taste and aroma from this food. But those take an incredibly long time to make so I have not taken my hand to try and learn that just yet. My attention was peaked though whenever I was browsing through recipes from the ChefSteps website for my joule sous vide and I saw a pork recipe that was titled with char siu. They had my interest and now they had my attention (cue the leonardo dicaprio gif).
I have really enjoyed the joule sous vide so far. It is incredibly simple. Its like a crock pot you can set up and control remotely, but I like the food from the sous vide WAY more. This makes incredibly tender meat that tastes like it has been made from a steakhouse. I never really liked the braised texture of crock pot meals. The flavor from crock pot meals was always great but the texture of braised meats always made me feel like the heat and liquid more dissolved the meat than cooked it. With sous vide I still get MEAT.
That little sous vide bit aside, I found this recipe from the Joule website (https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/char-siu-tender-cantonese-style-barbecued-pork) and had to make it. Pretty much because it has char siu in it. The recipe is remarkably simple because all that you have to do is get this char siu sauce from Amazon or your local asian market and find a 4.5 pound boneless pork shoulder piece of meat. This also gave me a great opportunity to use my brand new chefs knife that my mama gave me for my birthday. Thanks mama!
After you have the meat and the sauce the whole thing is remarkably simple. Begin heating your sous vide to 140 degrees. While that is happening take your pork shoulder and cut it into steaks about an inch and a half thick. Once you have all of your steaks, salt your steaks on both sides and let sit out. This helps the salt and flavor to be absorbed into the meat so that it doesn’t wash off with the sauce in the bag. This is a very important note for this recipe and all other sous vide recipes. Make sure your seasoning has time to absorb into the meat!
Once your sous vide is ready, grab a zip lock bag, the meat, and your sauce. Pour a tiny amount of sauce into the bottom of the bag. Then place one steak into the bag. Pour a little bit more sauce on top of that steak and then place another in the bag. Continue the process to be sure to equally distribute the sauce in between all of the steaks as possible. Occasionally with sous vide if you place your meat into the bag and then pour on whatever seasoning or sauce you have, you may experience the meat sticking together which prevents the flavor from being cooked into the meat during the cooking process.
Once you have the meat all prepped it is truly a very simple process. Place the bag into the sous vide and set a timer for 8 hours. This will be the smallest paragraph but the longest part of the cooking process. But moving on!
After your pork has cooked you still need to sear it. For this it is best that you use a grill over an open fire to do this. It caramelizes the sugar soaked fat of the pork and turns a red color. Sadly with all of the rain that we have been having in Fort Worth, this just was not an option for us so we used a non stick pan and still got some great results. We put the steaks in a the hot pan and cooked them to get a slight red color. The meat is already cooked so this is mainly just to give the texture and color that makes it more appealing.
As I said the fire will definitely get some more of the caramelized bits to the meat. There were some when pan searing and they were BY FAR the best part of the meat. Overall this was a super simple meal and as I am trying to learn how to better cook, I want any way that will allow me to cook better and still be easy. This recipe got me the review from my wife of “This is the best thing that you have ever made me”. So I am ecstatic that this will be a part of our recipe book. I have already ordered more bottles of the char siu sauce to have on stand by whenever we want this again.
If you have a sous vide, do this super simple recipe. Its incredible! So there you have it Fort Worth! Get in there and cook it!